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Tag Archives: compassion

Living Life From The Inside Out


“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
—Swami Vivekananda

I spent the first quarter of my life living from the “outside in.” In other words, I was searching for things outside myself—such as success, wealth, validation, and possessions— to make me feel whole and complete. I grew up in an alcoholic household, feeling disconnected from others, feeling alone and uncertain, and unaware that I was already complete.

By age 21 I had attained all the success society tells us we need to “have made it.” But for seven years, I also suffered from the eating disorder bulimia. In 1984, I woke up and said, “I can’t live this way anymore,” so I checked myself into treatment. During my six-week stay, I learned that to feel complete, I simply needed to start living my life from the “inside out.” Through therapy, meditation, yoga, reading for inspiration, and other mindfulness practices, I discovered that by living life first from within myself—learning to accept and love myself—I could then go out into the world to make it complete, rather than the other way around.

Albert Einstein once wrote, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Don’t you just love this? Albert Einstein’s wisdom here teaches that each of us, individually and collectively, completes the universe. Forgetting that we are already whole leads us to think we must take from the universe, that what is outside of us is what we need. However, it truly is just the opposite: We must give to the world from the whole of our being so that we can all achieve the success of life well lived, as an integral part of humanity and what lies beyond.

How do we begin living from the inside out? The first step is “wake up and sit”; go within through a daily practice of meditation and get in touch with the part of ourselves that knows on a very deep level that we are connected to one another and that we are strong, courageous, secure, and loving.

This is our true source of happiness, that feeling of completeness we yearn for, which we can share with the world through our words, actions, and deeds. We are complete. We are enough. There is nothing we need to take from the universe. It gives to us freely when we realize that the source of everything we need is already within.

I set the intention on a daily basis to live my life from the inside out. I sit with myself every morning and connect with me before I go connect with others. This is our preparation for whatever may come our way during the day. We cannot control anything in the external world, but we can control how we will respond and which choices we will make to thrive! What can I suggest to you for living your best life in mind, body, and spirit? Find your practice and practice it—with your whole being!


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

A Spotlight On Reading For Inspiration


The Contemplative Heart by James Finley

“By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.”
—Menander

Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life and the FAU Peace Studies Program have the honor of hosting a conference with Thomas Merton scholar James Finley, beginning today through Sunday afternoon. I have known Jim since 2009, and I call him one of my most profound teachers. In his wise and caring way, he gently says to us, “Find your practice and practice it.” I love this beautiful moment when he teaches us that, once we have been sitting in meditation, we get a taste of our own strength, love, and compassion. And then, as we go into our day, he reminds us, “Don’t break faith with your awakened heart.”

How often do we experience these moments of deep knowing about ourselves and our life only to go into our day and the busyness sets in and the thoughts in the mind tell us, “You can’t do that or be that; just get on with what makes sense”? When we bring our faith back to our “awakened heart,” we can gently remind ourselves of our strength, love, and compassion and refocus our attention on what it is we wish to do or be.

We are all looking forward to an amazing conference with Jim: “A Path to Inner Peace: Freeing the Mind and Heart through the 12 Steps.” We will be offering the audio of this weekend later in the month. In the meantime, I highly recommend Jim’s book The Contemplative Heart, which is on the reading list for the “Reading for Inspiration” part of The Practice. But to give you a little taste of the inspirational Jim Finley, I will share a few excerpts from his book below if you wish to contemplate them and their meaning in your life.

“Studying with the Masters” is one of the activities I recommend in my book The Practice and in my workshops. I posted a blog a while back explaining this enriching and rewarding activity. If you’d like a refresher on this practice, click here. Then, you can use the following excerpts from The Contemplative Heart for this purpose, or just read, enjoy, and contemplate!

“The contemplative way is not that of striving for some far off goal that we may or may not attain, but rather is a way of discovering a secret hidden deep within our hearts.”

“The contemplative way is not that of figuring out some obscure teaching, but it is rather that of learning to see what is always before our eyes.”

“Will we spend this evening’s hours in a sustained, underlying sense of gratitude and reverence for the divinity of night? Probably not. Here is the riddle we need now to explore—the riddle of our ignorance in which, though awakened again and again, we forget again and again the divinity to which we are awakened.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on these excerpts, and if you are one of the attendees at the conference, please share anything that touches your heart in the comments below.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

8 Ideas For Random Acts Of Kindness Day


“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
—Maya Angelou

Kindness comes from a place deep within, a place that shines our inner light outward and brightens someone else’s path. I believe we are all in this world to assist each other; to be of service; to bring more joy, love, and meaning to our lives; and to move along our paths with intention and mindfulness.

Let’s mix it up a bit today with Random Acts of Kindness Day, and instead of “randomly” doing something that is compassionate or thoughtful, we make it a point to approach all of our acts of kindness with purpose and meaning! Here are some ideas:

  1. Use the “magic” words. When spoken with gratitude, the words “please” and “thank you” can go a long way in making someone really feel appreciated. Use these words often throughout your day and watch how others brighten up.
  2. At the store, let someone waiting in line behind you take your place at the checkout register or maybe help someone with lots of shopping bags to the car. There are plenty of opportunities, so set this intention, keep your eyes open, and be ready to give others a helping hand.
  3. Prepare and share lunch with one of your coworkers or friends, making a special effort to prepare something you will both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a surprise. Giving a heads-up that you would like to share a special lunch is a really kind idea!
  4. Listen with focused attention during your conversations with others, offering thoughtful words of encouragement, praise, or feedback. Sometimes, no words are needed, but giving your complete attention and just being a sounding board is one of the kindest things you can do.
  5. Notice what stands out about someone and offer a heartfelt compliment if it comes naturally. There’s no need to force a sincere compliment! So, if something strikes you as special, don’t be shy about sharing your observation.
  6. Be generous with your smiles. A smile is a gift you can give again and again to as many people as you encounter throughout the day. You may even find the gift of smiles returned to you!
  7. Do a chore that is usually someone else’s responsibility in your household or at your place of work. If it’s a really big job, lend a helping hand. Doing things together makes difficult tasks a breeze!
  8. Practice patience and compassion throughout the day if you encounter people who you find “annoying” or frankly are not so kind! We know intimately that when someone cannot take the time to be polite, there is usually something difficult going on in their lives. So don’t take their rudeness personally and try to be understanding.

When we really pay attention and stay in the present moment, we will see that there are many opportunities throughout our daily lives to be kind to others, to treat them with gentleness, sincerity, patience, and benevolence.

When this is what we put out there into the world, we will experience more kindness in our own lives from others as well as from ourselves. I love the following quote by Amelia Earhart, and it is the perfect one for our day of kindness . . . and every day!

“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

When Your Sacred Mantra Becomes A Sacred Friend


“’We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My God and My All. These are the prayer words of St. Francis of Assisi, and I have been turning to them for comfort and support for more than twenty years. These words are my Sacred Mantra. As I explain in my book The Practice and here on my website, the Sacred Mantra is “a word, phrase, verse, or prayer with a long history of use that is hallowed or considered holy by the tradition or culture from which it originated, which you have personally chosen for your use.”

I have been using my Sacred Mantra for so long now that I consider it my sacred friend. I have experienced and enjoyed the many benefits of having this tool—this friend—by my side and in my heart. My Sacred Mantra helps me put my stress in perspective, quiets down my mental chatter, helps me to gain clarity of thought, and brings me back to the present moment when my mind wanders to the past or future!

When I discuss the Sacred Mantra in my workshops, I often talk about using it during times of uncertainty, fear, worry, and stress. In the beginning, it takes a lot of practice to train the mind to turn toward the mantra rather than to the worrisome or agitating thoughts that do not get us anywhere. I always say, “If worrying worked, then keep doing it.” But we know it doesn’t. What does work is the Sacred Mantra.

When the mind becomes accustomed to turning to the mantra, we move more easily throughout our day with more patience, compassion, strength, and love. It is as if a good friend is holding our hand and showing us the way!

The Sacred Mantra keeps us present in the moment, giving us an opportunity to really be aware of our actions and interactions with others. It gives us greater control over how we respond to life—because, frankly, that is where we really are in control. Think of this tool as a “thought interceptor”; when your mind starts down a negative, fearful path, start repeating your Sacred Mantra silently to yourself to bring your mind back to the moment, back to the place of reality and choice.

When you use your Sacred Mantra day after day, it becomes rooted within—a part of your being. So not only does it help me during times of worry and stress, it also comes to me in times of joy. One of these occasions, as I describe in my book, was my daughter’s graduation from college. I felt such incredible happiness to see her reach this amazing accomplishment in her life, and suddenly, there was my Sacred Mantra, like a chorus resounding within me! My smile could not have been brighter.

This simple phrase, the deep meaning it holds, and its power are transformational. Mahatma Gandhi called his mantra, Rama, Rama, Rama, “his staff of life.” I urge you to consider choosing a Sacred Mantra for your use and experience the many benefits of this beautiful friend firsthand.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

4 Ways to Honor The Light In Others


“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

As today is the first day of Hanukkah, I wish all my friends and readers who celebrate the Festival of Lights a beautiful, happy holiday!

A time of celebration most often calls for light in some way or another. Nearly every religion and spiritual tradition places the concept of light or creating light in a role of importance. Consider this: without light there would be only darkness—a mysterious and sometimes frightening place to be—so our love and reverence for that which brightens our lives makes perfect sense.

I believe we each have a light within us—a light we connect with by sitting quietly with ourselves every day. When we feel lost or afraid, this light reminds us we are not alone, and the silence helps us listen to the “whisperings of our hearts.” Our light is our essence in the world. I am deeply moved by the Sanskrit phrase Namaste, which means, “The light within me honors the light within you.” Here are four beautiful ways we can honor the light in others.

  1. Connect with the light within you. Sitting in silence each morning helps you connect within to your “true self.” This quiet time is a place of love, peace, courage, and support. It lights up the magnificent being that you are. It helps you to see the world as well as yourself more clearly.
  2. Take that light out into the world. When you have connected with your inner light, you take your light with you as you go about your day. If you perceive it dimming (it never really does, but you may be feeling a lack of energy), simply breathe and bring yourself back to the present moment and repeat your Sacred Mantra or a positive affirmation, reminding you of who you really are.
  3. Use your light to see the light in others. When you shine your light, you are able to see others more clearly, and you understand deeply that each of us is doing our best and that we all share the ultimate goal to be happy. Patience, gratitude, tolerance, acceptance, presence, and love are the gifts you give to others and yourself when you recognize the light in them.
  4. Acknowledge the light in others. By treating others with kindness and compassion, you are acknowledging that they are sacred beings with whom you share this planet. A smile, a helping hand, a nod of the head, a comforting pat . . . these are just a few of the ways you can let others know that you respect and honor their presence in your life.

The Festival of Lights continues for eight days, and over the course of the year, there will be many more celebratory opportunities, as well as solemn occasions, for lighting candles. Regardless of the spiritual tradition or religion, with each candle that is lit, let it be a reminder of the bright spark within each one of us that provides a steady glow of peace, love, and happiness.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Celebrating the Fall Harvest


“Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.”
—Douglas Jerrold

Pumpkins—these beautiful orange gourds seem to be everywhere this time of the year: on doorstops, in grocery stores, and of course, in pumpkin patches! I’ve been living in Florida for the past thirty-four years, and the sight of pumpkins makes me nostalgic for my northern roots in the Chicago area. Fall brings a special magic to the heart and soul—and, for those of us who live in tropical regions and don’t experience the changing colors of the fall, the pumpkin really is our first symbol of the season.

Let’s talk about this magnificent thing called the pumpkin for another moment. Here in the States, the pumpkin often brings to mind images of Jack o’ Lanterns and Halloween decorations. This wonder fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) has been an important staple in North America for many centuries—long before the Native American Indians introduced this abundant and versatile food source to the European settlers.

In a more general sense, and I would also say spiritual sense, pumpkins symbolize abundance—not too much but just enough to share with everyone! They have a prominent place in images of the cornucopia: the horn of plenty. Think about this image for a moment. A large horn-shaped basket is overflowing with colorful fruits, vegetables, flowers, and nuts. The cornucopia represents a successful fall harvest, suggesting a time of plentitude and celebration. It is a comforting image of hope, well-being, and easy times ahead. It’s no accident that fall is the time of year when most people feel at their best.

But, even more than that, the cornucopia symbolizes all of the dedicated work that went into producing the abundant treats within and around the basket. Truly, the fall harvest is a time to celebrate all of our hard work and literally enjoy the fruits of our labor! It is a time for deep and reverent gratitude, culminating with our Thanksgiving Day traditions.

Let’s now take this idea of an abundant harvest a step further: imagine yourself as a basket with plenty of space to fill (there’s even plenty of space around you to fill too!). Over the course of your lifetime, day by day and little by little, you are preparing the ground and planting seeds with everything you do and everywhere you go.

You nurture these seeds, your crops, by being kind to yourself, compassionate with others, and true to your life’s path. Then, as you go along, you have the opportunity to harvest the ripened “fruits”… eventually filling your basket to overflowing. With an abundant cornucopia, a real attitude of abundance in your life, you will have so much to celebrate and share with others—not just during the time of the fall harvest, but every precious moment of your magnificent life.

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
—Og Mandino


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

How To Transform Frustration Into Love In Action


“It would be easy to become a victim of our circumstances and continue feeling sad, scared or angry; or instead, we could choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies, and not let ourselves sink into it.”
― Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary

Life is like living on the “razor’s edge.” We are always seeking to find the balance in our lives between the happiness and goodness and the heartbreak and sadness. There are many beautiful things to experience in our external world that bring us immense joy, love, and satisfaction, but the external world also gives us plenty of opportunity to feel a whole range of uncomfortable emotions—from anger and fear to sadness and frustration. This may be the one point that everyone in the world would resoundingly agree upon!

In my blog today, I would like to take a look at how we can transform frustration and the emotions surrounding it into love in action. All of the strong feelings we are sensing today are completely normal human reactions; they are real feelings that many of us have toward the events and circumstances that happen in our lives. Anger wells up in the face of injustice, and immense frustration results over events that are seriously out of our control. I want to say here that there is nothing wrong with us for feeling this way. We are not going crazy! Actually, what these emotions are asking us is, “What action can I take?”

In my book The Practice and in my workshops, I teach tools for looking at these intense emotions and approaching situations from a new, calmer perspective so that we can take this necessary action from a place of control within. If we remain in the feelings of anger and frustration for too long, we may start to feel like victims, at the mercy of the external world, which takes away our power and our ability to heal.

Remember, this is not about ignoring or repressing the feelings, nor is it about allowing ourselves to become a doormat or to be used or abused. It is about learning to transform these frustrating feelings into purposeful, loving action. I strongly believe this is our step toward resolution and freedom. By fully acknowledging and getting intimate with our feelings, we are then able to use them to inspire us to have the courage to stand on our own two feet, fully grounded in who we are and how we feel. This provides the insight we need for taking actions that contribute to the greatest good for everyone involved.

Our everyday situations are unique, but some of the injustices in the world touch us all very deeply. We can all take a pause and ask, “Rather than bring about more separateness and anger in this situation, what can I do to contribute to the solution here?” This is how we change the world—one person at a time. We transmute our deep feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration into the flipside emotions of love and compassion, allowing them to be the foundation of our actions. This is true transformation!

This is the transformation that is necessary for all of us to come together to make a meaningful difference in ourselves and in the world. Please share with me what actions you are taking to transform anger and frustration into love in action in the comments below.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Do Something Nice Today


“Together we can change the world, one good deed at a time.”
— Anonymous

To give pleasure and joy—this is exactly what we are doing when we do something nice for someone. Isn’t it such a wonderful gift, a great feeling, to brighten another person’s day? Often, all it takes is a few kind words, a thoughtful deed, or even a smile. When we do something for someone from that place in our heart where love and compassion reside, our good deed can be transformational and far-reaching.

Kindness also tends to have a boomerang effect, right? A person for whom we have done a kindness is likely to pay it forward to someone else as they journey throughout their day. And if they do, who knows, perhaps our one good deed or statement will get carried on a wave of kindness that might make its way right back to us..

As Princess Diana once said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” So kindness isn’t something we do so that we will receive a favor in return. Rather it is a selfless act that will nevertheless have a positive affect on our own lives.

I’ve chosen this topic for today’s blog post because October 5 is National Do Something Nice Today. How wonderful to have a whole day dedicated to this idea! But can you imagine if we dedicated a whole month or year . . . or even a whole lifetime to this? That’s what Mother Teresa did through her work with the Missionaries of Charity. While not everyone can dedicate their lives to selfless service as this great woman did, there is certainly something each of us can do every day to make life a little easier or brighter for someone else, even if that is as simple as a friendly smile.

Kindness takes many forms, both large and small. As you go about your day, try to notice opportunities to do something nice for the people in your life as well as for strangers you encounter throughout the day. Below I offer a few general ideas that can fit many different types of situations. I encourage you to get creative. Think outside the box as you spread kindness today!

  • Lend a helping hand
  • Offer words of encouragement
  • Give a sincere compliment
  • Support another’s efforts
  • Donate your time
  • Say hello to passersby
  • Be present and listen closely
  • Give a thoughtful gift
  • Make a comforting gesture, such as a hug or smile
  • Bring levity and laughter to a situation
  • Spend quality time with others

By spreading the seeds of kindness, our good deeds and words will bloom like flowers. Everywhere we go, the fragrance of our love will be carried on the wind. This is such a beautiful thought to imagine: the whole earth as a bountiful garden of kindness! Doing something nice goes a very long way. . . .


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

The Secret to Self-Compassion


We know how important it is to be compassionate with ourselves—“to love ourselves anyway”—yet sometimes we feel it’s impossible to overlook our flaws, shortcomings, and mistakes. We think if we could only change this or that about ourselves or do something noteworthy then we would really be deserving of self-love. But my friend Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön wisely tells us:

“Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.”

So self-compassion isn’t about “overlooking” anything; it’s about really looking at all parts of ourselves and accepting that these things about us make up the whole picture of who we are as individual human beings. It is about understanding that we will sometimes suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, but that these are all part of our experience.

web-9-9-2Have you ever looked at an oil painting close up? From a distance the image is one of beauty, but up close, the brushstrokes might look haphazard, the purpose of the gobs of dried paint are unclear, and even the colors may seem muddy and unappealing. Yet every movement of the artist’s brush had a purpose in creating the whole, and we stand back to admire the finished piece.

The same is true for those things about ourselves that we don’t really like as well as those things that we do like. Each experience—whether negative, positive, or neutral—is a brushstroke that contributes to the magnificent work of art that we are.

So what is the secret to self-compassion? It’s about taking an up-close look at the individual parts of ourselves and accepting that no matter how we perceive them, they are placed perfectly on our life’s canvas. Next, we take a step back to look at ourselves from a wider perspective to embrace the beauty of our whole being.

How do we begin to do this? By sitting with ourselves for a few minutes on a daily basis in meditation. We check in to see how and what we are feeling, accepting those emotions and sensations as part of our experience. Then when we go within, we discover that innate part of ourselves that always looks at the whole picture, that knows we are perfect, and that we are truly worthy of our love and compassion.

After this quiet time, we go out into the world, fully aware that the paintbrush is in our hands. We have a palette of colors from which to choose. We can make changes, dabbing new colors here and there or adding more paint to this corner or that. And when we turn in for the night, we can take a look at our painting from that wider perspective and intimately know its beauty and blessing. When we consider our lives from this vantage point, we really do “love ourselves anyway.” How can we not?

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
—Buddha


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

How I Chose my Sacred Mantra


“Stop the flow of your words…open the window of your heart…and let the spirit speak.” —Rumi

Since I was a young girl, I have had a great love for St. Francis of Assisi. He is most well known for being the patron saint of animals and peace. But back in the day, very long ago, he cared deeply for our planet, and so he was also named the patron saint of the environment. Over the course of his lifetime, he made many significant, but selfless, accomplishments and was pronounced a saint in July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX, just a couple of years following his death.

St. Francis’s love for all living beings is what drew me to him. The story of his life and the lessons we learned about him in school spoke directly to my heart, stirring a deep compassion and love within me. Many years later, when I chose a Sacred Mantra for my spiritual practice, I knew immediately I would use his prayer words: My God and My All.

This was St. Francis’s meditation prayer. Repeating this phrase, my Sacred Mantra, brings me a deep knowing that everything I need to live my life with love, compassion, kindness, and courage is within me.

When my mind starts traveling down a negative path, I turn to this phrase to bring my mind back to gratitude, joy, and the present moment.

When I am faced with difficulties, My God and My All gives me strength to do what I must.

When I am afraid, it gives me courage.

When the world outside seems chaotic, and quite frankly out of control, my Sacred Mantra helps me stay strong from within, sending out thoughts of peace to those in need.

And when I am celebrating joyous occasions, it is my sacred friend, there to celebrate alongside me.

I cannot imagine my life without my Sacred Mantra. It has great meaning to me, and the support it provides through its sacred lineage is immeasurable—beyond amazing!

If you are in search of a life that is deeply connected within throughout the day and night, you may want to choose a Sacred Mantra of your own—a revered and hallowed phrase that is with you for support and comfort during all of life’s situations.

A Sacred Mantra should have a long history of use by others on the spiritual path. It is my suggestion that you begin with one that has deep meaning to you, the way St. Francis’s words speak to me. Choose one that touches your heart and brings a smile to your face. In my book The Practice, I discuss the Sacred Mantra in great detail, and I provide more guidelines for choosing your own.

I would like to leave you with an excerpt from my book that illustrates just how powerful this practice—this sacred friend, as I like to call it—is:

“This idea that we can gain strength from those who came before us is aptly illustrated by the words Rosa Parks used to describe what gave her strength the day she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955. She said, ‘I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors behind me.’ Each time I hear these words and visualize Rosa Parks on the bus that day with her unwavering strength and bravery, tears come to my eyes. This is what a Sacred Mantra offers. It is not only there to remind you that you are supported, but it also allows you to tap into the love, energy, power, and strength of those who have used it for the very same purpose.”


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.